WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it will investigate Baton Rouge Police Department-involved shooting of Alton Sterling:
“The U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it will conduct an investigation into police-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling is an important and encouraging development,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The commitment of federal resources, including support from the FBI, can help ensure that the investigation is conducted fairly, thoroughly and impartially. This is not the first time the Baton Rouge Police Department has been the subject of a federal investigation into excessive use of force allegations, and indicates problems that may be entrenched inside the department. Following the criminal investigation, a civil investigation of the Baton Rouge Police Department should be conducted to identify and eliminate systemic problems that may have contributed to Mr. Sterling’s tragic death.”
“We stand with Mr. Sterling’s family, the community and those exercising their first amendment right to protest in calling for justice in the tragic death of Alton Sterling,” added Clarke.
Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Clarke served as a former federal prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice where she handled police brutality cases. Clarke also worked at the New York State Attorney General’s Office where she assisted with efforts to appoint the Attorney General’s Office as an independent prosecutor tasked with handling all investigations and any prosecutions resulting from police-involved shootings of unarmed individuals in New York State.